United Adds More Spokes at Chicago Hub

US major United Airlines is to introduce three new domestic routes from its hub at Chicago O’Hare International Airport during the first quarter of next year.  The carrier plans to introduce flights to Elmira, NY, and State College, Pa as well as to Topeka, Kan., subject to government approval.

The three new services will be operated under the United Express banner by regional carrier ExpressJet Airlines using 50-seat Embraer ERJ-145 regional jet aircraft with the links to State College and Topeka commencing from January 7, 2014, and the Elmira service launching on February 13, 2014.  All three routes will be operated on a twice daily basis.

“By adding these new routes, United continues to strengthen Chicago’s best route network,” said Karen Catlin, managing director for Midwest and Canada sales, United Airlines. “Travellers from Elmira, State College and Topeka will have improved access to the nation’s third largest city and one-stop access to more of the world from United’s Chicago hub.”

With these new routes, United has added service to ten new destinations from Chicago since the beginning of 2013.  Other new year-round and seasonal destinations include Mobile, Ala.; Fairbanks, Alaska; Nassau, Bahamas; Shannon, Ireland; San Jose, Costa Rica; Thunder Bay, Ontario; and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.  Elmira and Topeka are both new destinations in United’s route network, while the airline currently serves State College from its hub at Washington Dulles.

United will be the sole the carrier to serve all three markets and will in fact be the only scheduled air carrier to provide service to Topeka Forbes Field Regional Airport, a former Strategic Air Command (SAC) military base.  The facility, owned by the Metropolitan Topeka Airport Authority and located in Shawnee County, Kansas, six nautical miles south of the central business district of Topeka, the capital city of the US state of Kansas, was last served on a scheduled basis by Allegiant Air which offered flights to Las Vegas up until July 2007.

United and its regional partners flying under the United Express brand operate nearly 570 daily flights from its Chicago O’Hare hub to more than 125 domestic and more than 30 international destinations.  In the table below, using data from OAG Analyser, we highlight United Airlines’ operations at the airport over the past ten years and reveal that 2013 represents its largest year-on-year capacity growth since 2004.

SCHEDULED FLIGHTS BY UNITED AIRLINES AND PARTNERS ON UA CODE FROM CHICAGO O’HARE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Year

Annual Flights

Annual Seats

% Capacity Change

% Capacity Share

2013

212,235

18,468,367

0.8 %

45.3 %

2012

204,950

18,316,948

(-1.2) %

45.1 %

2011

204,521

18,540,340

(-7.6) %

44.1 %

2010

212,028

20,062,670

0.0 %

47.5 %

2009

199,577

20,056,300

(-6.8) %

47.9 %

2008

210,561

21,515,285

(-6.8) %

47.0 %

2007

224,993

23,084,424

(-0.6) %

47.6 %

2006

229,016

23,216,762

0.4 %

47.9 %

2005

226,315

23,130,369

(-6.0) %

47.0 %

2004

231,350

24,595,295

5.4 %

47.9 %

2003

217,110

23,327,101

-

49.0 %


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